Everything You Need To Know To Have a Great Semester

I was thinking of what kind of post I wanted to do to kick off the semester, and I just really couldn’t decide.

semester study tips, health tips

There are so many helpful tidbits of information I could feed to you right about now – how to wake up early for your classes, how to stay organized, great school lunch recipes….the list goes on and on. In the spirit of it being 20-freaking-17 and this semester being the one where we all finally decide we are going to take the world by storm, do great, and have fun…let’s just cover it all, shall we?

I get a lot of questions during the semester about all things “how to succeed in school”, and I thought I’d just compile all those here and do like a little “everything you need to know to survive the semester” Q&A style post.

Let’s get started because you probably have to organize your agenda or head to class soon.

How do you wake up early for your classes or to get stuff done before classes?

Easy peezy, girlfriend. You go to bed on-time and you wake up with purpose. Set a “bedtime” alarm on your phone for about 30 minutes before you’d like to hit the hay, so you can stop what you’re doing, be responsible and take off your makeup, and maybe even prep breakfast or lunch for the next day. Make sure you’re creating a good sleep environment with minimized electronics and maybe some cool lavendar pillow mist.

Wake up with intention. Make a (small and not-so-overwhelming) list of things you’d like to get accomplished in the morning (i.e. watch an online lecture, water your plants, clean your bathroom) or even schedule a workout class or study date, so you get out of bed.

What’s an easy, quick healthy breakfast

1. Overnight oats were my everything when I had 7:30 a.m. classes. 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 a cup oats, in the fridge overnight. Microwave for 1 minute in the morning (maybe as you brew your coffee) and add desired toppings.

2. If you’re not an oatmeal person, bag up the ingredients for a smoothie and have them ready in your freezer. I’ll be doing a “What I Eat in a Day: School Edition” on the blog soon, so you can get my smoothie recipe there! I often post them on my Snapchat, too. (cristina.snaps)

3. Can’t run a blender because your roomies are sleeping? Hate oatmeal? Spread almond butter or peanut butter on a rice cake (I like apple cinnamon ones) and add fruit toppings like banana and strawberries!

I have a long commute, how can I use my time wisely?

If you’re driving yourself…podcasts, podcasts, podcasts!!! My three favorites, ranked: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Anxiety Guru, and Adulthood Made Easy by Real Simple. Send me any recommendations you have though because I need new ones!

If you’re taking a bus (i.e. you yourself are not driving) bring reading material! Diving into a book that stimulates your mind is much better than scrolling on your phone. I love Philosophy books and self-help books. Try “Mindfulness”…that’s my favorite! (And is bargained priced at Barnes and Noble.) Or I know my boyfriend is really loving, “The Key to Character”.

How do I meet new people at school?

I’m not one to tell you to join every organization in the hopes of meeting “your people”. While that is a really great way to do it, I know some things like time and money can hold you back from registering for every club. Instead, just try chatting with people in class. Get there early, say hi to those that sit next to you, maybe ask them about the textbook or the homework. You won’t be immediate best friends, but over the course of the semester, it will be nice to have someone you can chat with in class. Who knows! I’ve had great friends come of this and now we hang out outside of class.

How do I stay organized?

I did a whole post on that here, but in short, don’t keep a ton of trash you don’t need, clean out your backpack regularly, and keep two seperate notebooks for your Mon/Wed/Fri classes and Tu/Th classes.

What’s a good healthy lunch option I can bring to campus?

I love a good veggie wrap. You can buy any kind of tortilla or pita (even gluten free kinds) and then add in your spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados….really whatever veggies you like! I like to add hummus instead of something like mayo. I also like making grain bowls with brown rice, black beans, and a ton of veggies (kind of like a DIY Chipotle burrito bowl) because it travels well in a Tupperware.

How do I fit workouts in during a busy semester?

Schedule them! If it’s on your calendar, you can work around it. Sign up for your classes at the gym, barre, or yoga studio online, so you have an actual reservation to get to. If you’re just trying to go for a run on your own or go to your local gym, still schedule those work-out times in your planner.

What’s the best way to organize my planner?

I got a post on that for you here, and I also mention it in my “Study With Me” Youtube video.

How do I get everything crossed off my to-do list for the day?

First off, don’t put anything on that to-do list that isn’t do-able, capeesh? If you know you aren’t going to get around to cleaning your car because you have a hectic day, don’t put it on there and set yourself up for any kind of disappointment. Be reasonable.

Tackle the big tasks firsts. Make your phone calls in the morning, try to schedule any meetings early, and if you have a big to-do like going to the DMV or putting some final touches on a project, grab some coffee first thing in the morning and work then. By the end of the day, only the little things will be left and you’ll love that!


I hope this little Q&A post helped you!

If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll give you my best advice!

Follow me around through my first week back at school on Instagram and Snapchat (cristina.snaps)! 




  • Ooooh cannot wait for your what you eat post! I seriously am running out of recipes, and need some recommendations!

    Reading this post made me seriously miss college – soak it all up! Oh, and happy first week of classes!

    xx, Jamie

    • cristina

      Thanks, Jamie! You’re so right about soaking it all in when it comes to school. I know some days I just am ready to be done, but I will miss it when it’s gone. Let’s get together soon! xx

  • Angela

    This is FABULOUS. I recently graduated but these tips can keep me in line now that I’ve started a new job! Good luck with all your classes fellow Ad girl!

    • cristina

      Oh yes I just saw on Facebook about your new job – congrats girl! Hope these tips help, but I know you’ll do fabulous. Xx! (P.S. if you’re not already a part of my Facebook group, Bloggers to Media Mavens, you should totally join!)

  • These are really great tips! I worked so hard to establish these same routines in college, and they helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing!

  • These are so helpful for girls in school! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • I love this post – it was incredibly helpful! I’m definitely going to try waking up with a little bit of intention every morning, as it’s always super hard for me to get out of bed. Thank you for sharing all of these tips!

    • cristina

      Getting up early is tough, especially at the start of the semester! I know you can do it though 🙂 I just play some upbeat music and promise myself a good cup of coffee, haha! X

  • I wish I would have had tips like these when I was in school! They totally would have helped me stay ahead.

    La Belle Sirene 

  • These are all great tips for the busy college student. I think the most important for me would definitely be setting a pre-bedtime alarm as I’m prone to just pushing off going to sleep and then stay up until 4AM :”D

    • cristina

      Haha yes girl sleep is your friend!! Just try going to bed even a couple hours earlier this week and I bet you’ll feel the positive difference 🙂 Good luck!

  • Great tips girl! I really need to remember that whole wake up with a purpose thing because I’m bad at it lately, my bed is just so warm some mornings.
    Wish I would have read this while I was in college!

    • cristina

      Thanks girl! Sometimes my purpose in the morning is just to enjoy a good cup of coffee haha 🙂 Whatever gets ya out of bed! X!

  • Such great tips, girl! Can’t wait to put them to use this semester!

    • cristina

      Thank you! I hope you have an amazing semester 🙂

  • Such great tips! I wish I would have had tips like these when I was in school!

    • cristina

      Thank you so much, girl! I think they can carry me into my post-grad years, too so it’s great to record them like this 🙂

  • michelle mink

    The breakfast ideas are really great! Do you ever listen to books on tape or just podcasts? I use my commute time to catch up with my parents.

    • cristina

      I was just thinking the other day that I wanted to try to start listening to books on tape! I’m an avid reader, but I think audiobooks sound like a great way to pass the time. Do you have any favorite sites or apps you use to get your audiobooks? I love how you use your commute time to catch up with your fam – that’s a great idea! I should call my grandma 🙂

  • Fantastic tips, I so could have used these when I was in school! Even though I’m working now, most of these tips still apply.

    • cristina

      That’s awesome, I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • My planner got me throughout my college experience! Probably wouldn’t of survived without it lol All of these are great tips 🙂 xx thecarlycollective.com

    • cristina

      Oh yes, my planner is my best friend!

  • This is a great post, especially loved the meal part! I’m a commuter and don’t want to go broke just on buying some lunch so I’ll definitely do the rice bowl sometime! Another thing that makes the commute better in the morning (esp in traffic) is finding a radio morning show you love! I have a favorite local one (from 6 am to 9:30 am) and it makes the drive so much better! They play music I like and do fun things on air!

    • cristina

      Thanks, Ariana! I definitely should try listening to a radio talk show. I know I used to listen to one that was hilarious back in high school – it was where someone goes on a date, but the person hasn’t called them back, so the radio station calls the person and figures out why they didn’t get a second date. (Usually, it’s some hilarious reason, haha!) Thanks for your input!

  • Amy

    Such a helpful post!! Loved the note on waking up with a purpose! I have been having such a struggle lately getting up early and getting out of bed lately.. Also, love the tip of making friends in classes. Someone of the best people I’ve meet in college are the ones I sparked random conversations with just by going to class early and asking how their weekend was!
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    • cristina

      Thanks, Amy! Getting out of bed is tough, but today, for example, I bribed myself by going to brunch after my morning run! (And it was a very yummy reward, haha!) I’m definitely going to continue chatting with people in my class to try and make some new friends and connections 🙂 Thanks for your input!

  • “You go to bed on-time and you wake up with purpose. ” easier said than done 🙂

    But yes, when I actually get to bed on time and can fall asleep and wake up feeling refresh with a purpose, it is a truly amazing feeling. You feel like you can do anything!

    And this is a great list! I wish I would have been more social during my college experience!